Why You Need a Blogging Strategy6 Actionable Steps for Creating a Blog Strategy in 2021

Your blog strategy is a broad map of how you’re going to reach your blogging goals. In this guide, I’m breaking down exactly how to create a blogging strategy in six simple steps.

Why You Need a Blogging Strategy icon

Too many bloggers don’t have a clear blogging strategy. They just jump from one task to another, trying out the latest ideas they’ve heard about… and never getting far.

If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad. Even among professional business-to-business marketers, only 65% (just over a third) actually have a documented strategy.

Maybe you’ve tried getting strategic in the past but it all seemed overwhelming: getting your head around monetization and traffic and everything else that goes into growing a blog.

Or maybe you tried to get clear about a content strategy—but all your plans fell apart as soon as you got busy and failed to find time to write.

Today, I’m going to break down creating a blog strategy for you. We’ll take everything step by step, so you can build your strategy without getting stuck or overwhelmed.

Let’s begin by getting clear about what we’re aiming to do—and why.

What is a Blog Strategy?

A blog strategy isn’t as formal as a business plan. It’s also not usually focused on the tiny details (like how exactly you’ll close each blog post). Instead, your blog strategy is a broad map of how you’re going to reach your blogging goals.

Your blog strategy might deal with a lot of different areas, such as when you’re going to create products, what type of affiliate products you’re going to promote, and more.

In this article, I’m going to focus on one key part of your blog strategy—your blog content strategy. This is all about the posts (and/or other content) you publish on your blog. Your content links with all other areas of your blog strategy, making it a great place to begin.

Why You Need a Blogging Strategy (6 Steps to Create One) in 2021

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Why You Need a Content Strategy for Your Blog

Imagine two bloggers. Let’s call them Andy and Bella. They’re both blogging in the same niche for the same audience.

Andy doesn’t have a strategy. He intends to publish a new post every Monday, but often gets busy and doesn’t publish anything.

He’s often unsure what to write, so he just picks whatever topic is on his mind or in the news. He keeps meaning to get started with affiliate marketing, but never gets around to writing the reviews he has in mind.

Bella, by contrast, has a blog strategy. She publishes a new post every Monday without fail, sends a newsletter out every Wednesday, and queues up a week’s worth of social media updates every Friday.

Through keyword research, she knows exactly what articles are likely to help her target audience—and bring in traffic to her blog. She has a “Recommended Resource” section in each newsletter, where she shares an affiliate resource she loves.

After a year, which blogger is likely to succeed? Clearly, it’s Bella … yet, most bloggers behave more like Andy.

Now, Andy’s blog isn’t necessarily going to fail. He might get lucky with a post and get a flood of traffic. He’ll eventually get around to writing some affiliate reviews, and bring in a bit of money.

But his blog is definitely more of a hobby than a business. There’s no real momentum toward Andy’s goals.

If you’re more like Andy than Bella, don’t worry. We’re going to discuss exactly what you need to do in order to create your blog content strategy.

6 Steps for Creating Your Blog Content Strategy

Let’s get your strategy underway. If your blog is already up and running, you may well have already completed the first three steps—but I strongly recommend at least reading through them, in case there’s anything you need to tweak.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

How to Create a Blogging Strategy (Blog Content Strategy Example) Image

Before you do anything else, you need to figure out what you want to get from blogging. This will inform the whole of your strategy.

It’s impossible to figure out how to create a successful blog if you don’t even know what “successful” means for you.

  • Do you want to build a reputation for yourself in your industry?
  • Do you want to bring in some money on the side?
  • Do you want to raise money for a charity or cause?
  • Do you want to earn a full-time living?
  • Do you want to simply enjoy writing for fun?

All of those are valid goals. You can choose one of them or come up with a different goal that resonates with you.

Once you’ve determined your broad goal, start to think about specifics. For instance, let’s say your goal is to earn a full-time living blogging. What does that look like for you?

Maybe you want to make $35,000/year (the median US salary) working only during school hours, for instance. Or maybe you want to make at least $100,000/year, but you’re happy to work a 50-hour week.

Task: Write down your main goal for your blog, using target numbers or figures if it makes sense to do so. You may also want to set a target date.

Step 2: Pick Your Niche

Once you’re clear about your goal, it’s time to pick your niche. If you’ve already got a niche, pause and think about whether your niche is fully compatible with your goal.

If your goal is to make money (particularly a full-time living), then you want to opt for a niche that’s easy to monetize.

However, it’s important not to only pick a niche because you think it’ll make money. Unless you’re strongly motivated by money alone, you’ll likely want to choose a niche you can enjoy writing about for years to come.

If you need a bit of help at this stage of blog planning, check out my in-depth guide on picking a blog niche.

Task: Write down your niche. If you’re not sure, write a list of possible niches and rank them based on (a) what you enjoy most and (b) whether they’d likely help you reach your goals.

Step 3: Identify Your Target Market

Who is your blog aimed at? Sometimes, your target market (aka target audience) will be indicated by your niche, but most niches will have several possible audiences.

Let’s say your niche is “fitness for beginners.” Your target market is clearly “beginners”—but you’ll want to go further than that. Ask yourself:

  • Are you writing primarily for men or women?
  • What age are your readers?
  • What country do they live in?
  • What are their political views?
  • How much education do they have?

All these factors will affect the topics you cover, the products/services you recommend, the advice you give, and even the way you word things.

They’ll also affect things beyond your content, like the color scheme, branding, and the social networks you use to promote your blog.

For instance, one fitness blog for beginners might be aimed at “women in their 40s and 50s in Europe, left-leaning, college-educated or higher.”

Another might be aimed at “men in their 20s in America, right-wing, high school diploma only.” These blogs will likely look very different.

Note: You can—and will—have readers who don’t fit your target market. That’s perfectly fine. What matters is that you have a core target market in mind. Other people are welcome to come to your blog too … but you’re not specifically tailoring your content to them.

Task: Write down your target market, incorporating at least some of the above factors.

Step 4: Conduct Keyword Research

The next step is to figure out what keywords people in your target market are likely to use, related to your blog’s niche.

“Keywords” aren’t complicated. They’re simply words or (more often) short phrases people type into Google.

You can probably think of a whole bunch of keywords off the top of your head. For instance, if you blog about knitting patterns, some keywords would be:

  • Knitting
  • Knitting patterns
  • Free knitting patterns
  • Dress knitting patterns
  • Sweater knitting patterns
  • How to knit a Christmas sweater

… and so on.

Keyword research is the process of finding keywords and figuring out which keywords you should base content around.

Essentially, you want to find keywords that (a) have plenty of people searching for them but (b) aren’t so popular that you’ll never have a chance of getting your content to the top of Google.

There are loads of techniques and tools you can use to help, and I have a detailed article here with everything you need to know about keyword research.

Task: Go through the keyword research guide, then list 10 or more keywords you can use to create content.

Step 5: Create a Content Calendar

How to Create a Blog Strategy (Image of Creating a Content Calendar)

A content calendar is simply a list of upcoming dates and the content you plan to publish. With your calendar to hand, you can come up with lots of blog post ideas at once, carry out keyword research, and even plan a whole batch of posts.

There are lots of different options for creating your content calendar. Some bloggers use a simple spreadsheet. Others use a task management system like Asana.

You could even use a sheet of paper. What matters is that you plan what you’re going to post when, ahead of time.

Your content calendar can include more than just blog posts. You might want to include email newsletters, guest posts, and any other content you’d like to create on a regular basis.

You could even plan to create more in-depth free resources, perhaps once a month, or once a quarter.

It’s also a great idea to include content promotion on your calendar, as this forms part of your blog marketing strategy.

It could be as simple as planning a few social media posts to share your content, or a list of who to email about specific pieces of content.

To make your content planning faster, you might want to choose a particular theme or type of post for different days or weeks.

For instance, you might have a “beginners” post every Monday and a “top tips” post every Friday, or you could always have an “expert roundup” post the last week of each month.

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Task: Plan your upcoming blog posts for the next month, using the keywords you researched in step 4. If you can, go further and plan the emails you’ll send to your list.

Step 6: Plan Your Monetization Strategy

If you’re hoping to earn a living as a blogger, you’ll have thought a bit about monetization when choosing your niche. But now’s the time to think how best to integrate monetization into your blogging strategy as a whole.

These are some of the key ways that people make money blogging:

Many bloggers use a combination of methods, though some blogs monetize solely through one method.

It’s important to think about how you plan to monetize your blog, so you can work this into your content plan.

For instance, if you’re promoting affiliate products, you could write review posts—but you could also look for opportunities to mention these products in other posts.

Task: Choose one monetization method (that you’re already using or want to use). Look for at least 3 pieces on your content calendar where you could add a section or link that would help bring in more money through that method.

Execute Your Blog Strategy

Set aside time this week to form your blogging strategy. Don’t worry about making it perfect—your strategy isn’t set in stone. You can revisit and modify it based on your real-world results.

Start by getting clear about your goals, niche, and target market. Then, do enough keyword research to plan your next month of content. Make sure you work in some monetization opportunities, as well.

Finally, set aside time each week to produce the content you’ve planned. (Aim to complete it ahead of your planned publication date, just in case you get sidetracked.) You’ll be amazed by how much you can achieve in just one month.

And don’t worry your blog isn’t yet up and running or if you need some help with setting it up properly. Just head on over to my complete guide on how to start a blog and make money.

Want My Free Blog Strategy Planner?

Grab my free blog planner bundle (in Google Doc format) today.

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Hi I'm Ryan Robinson

Full-time blogger, podcaster and side project aficionado. Join me here, on ryrob.com to learn how to start a blog, make money blogging and grow a profitable side business. I also write for publications like Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider and more. Let’s chat on Twitter about business and side projects.

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12 replies to “Why You Need a Blogging Strategy (and 6 Steps to Create One) in 2021”

  1. Excellent read. I have a lot of work to do in the upcoming days. You have broken down blogging in such a manner that anyone should be able to launch a blog for their business. Thank you so much.

  2. fabulous read must say. I have made a content calendar for next quarter. Just need to work on timings to publish content.

    Execution is not an easy task to do and my weak point :(.

  3. Mate, I love your work, for a complete novice to blogging I find it simple to comprehend yet the information is very powerful and cutting edge to my mind. Keep up the great work and know it is appreciated…cheers

  4. Thanks Ryan! Your posts are always so informative and I get the feeling you took time to plan it out and make it work. I wonder how long does it take for you to make a post, from the very start to the end?

    I thought I’d get started on a blog, so I jumped into getting a domain, but I’m now bombarded with so much information and getting overwhelmed… I may have made a decision too quickly just based on all these encouragements online. So I hope I could stick to it and go step by step.

    • It definitely takes time to find your rhythm, so don’t feel alone in that, Desmond! What you’re looking at today on my blog, is the culmination of years of work coming together that allows me to write & publish content at a pretty quick pace (and I have some help as far as writing/editing for much of my content along the way in my editorial process these days). Be patient and kind to yourself as you’re just getting things up and running with your blog—you’ll keep making progress if you continue to write & promote your work 🙂 Ultimately though, for a ~3,000 word article, that’s usually done over the course of a few days… totaling between 5-10 hours most of the time.